What Are Sectors In Formula 1?

What Are Sectors In Formula 1

Have you ever watched a Formula 1 race or highlights and heard the commentators talking about different drivers and how they performed in different sectors of the track? Have you ever wondered what those sectors even are and what they mean? Read on to learn more about the meaning of sectors in Formula 1 and why they are significant to the sport.

What Are Sectors?

In Formula 1 racing, timing is of the utmost importance because winners and losers are determined by who is the fastest driver on the track. Timing is also incredibly important because it serves as data points that can help teams understand how they rank amongst their competitors.

As a result, accurately measuring the lap times of drivers is critical. To do so, advanced transponders are placed on the cars themselves, and they help timing officials measure lap times as accurate to one ten-thousandth of a second. However, to further assist in the timing of races, each race track will be divided into three different segments called “sectors” that are roughly the same length.

How Are Sectors Timed?

Advanced transponders are placed on the cars to accurately measure the lap times of each driver. These transponders emit signals to timing loops that are placed throughout the track, which allows the lap times of drivers to be measured. These timing loops are specifically placed at the beginning and ends of each sector so that a driver’s time is individually measured for that particular sector. The addition of all three sector times creates a driver’s overall lap time.

Additionally, three different colors are used to indicate how an individual driver performed in each sector relative to their competitors. These colors are purple, green, and yellow, and each color is significant in its meaning.

  • Purple: the driver has set the fastest time compared to all the other drivers on track.
  • Green: the driver has set a personal best time through that sector, although not the fastest time of all the drivers.
  • Yellow: the driver was slower in that sector in comparison to their other performances throughout the race weekend.

The yellow code is different in that it is not in comparison to other drivers. Instead, it is in comparison to the driver’s other performances, including practice sessions and qualifying sessions. Due to the different color codes of these sectors, a driver does not necessarily have to have purple sectors across the entire track to have the fastest overall lap time.

How Do Sectors Help Teams?

By timing a driver throughout the sectors, teams are able to have an idea of how their drivers or cars perform through different parts of the track. As the sectors include different amounts of corners and straightaways, teams are able to understand important aspects of a race, including the straight line speeds of their cars compared to other teams or how a particular driver enters and exits a corner compared to other drivers. This, in turn, allows teams to adjust their strategies or the setups of their cars in order to fully enhance performance.